American Road, The (Part I)
Shows development of transportation in the United States during the first half of the 20th century, emphasizing growth of automobile industry, roads and highways.
Run time 0:17:38Production Company Ford Motor CompanyAudio/Visual sound, B&W
August 22, 2003
The American Road (Full Film)
This 70s film shows us the early history of the automobile and how it changed America's way of life. Since it was sponsored by Ford, it focuses a lot on the Model T and it has an optomistic bias (cars have obviously improved things and there's no downside, is there?). The movie ends with optimistic, populuxe proclamations that the future will be better than ever, which is curious in a 70s film. Still, this is quite well-made and it has a real human feel to it. You really get a sense of what it must have been like to live in the pre-auto world and also what it was like to whether the changes that cars brought on the scene. The film contains lots of great archival footage of old cars and also lots of historical footage of Henry Ford, his family, and his cronies (is that Edison in the background?). Like many of the better industrial films, it hooks into your emotions at times, especially the feeling of freedom that car ownership provides. An interesting document of automotive and cultural history.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
August 21, 2003
Quite an informative background on the birth of the Amercian car. From Henry Ford's invention of the quadracycle, to the birth of the assembly line to the impact it had on the American way of life, this is quite an educational film.
August 12, 2003
A slightly one-sided history of the motor car
The overly depressing introduction, a view of the country from the perspective of somebody moving to the city, really does confuse the viewer as to what you are actually watching. Once in the city (New York from what I can tell) you are treated to some really great footage, but it still remains unclear as to what you are watching.
It's not until the seventh minute that the actual story starts; Henry Ford is introduced (and dramatised), invents his 'quadrocycle' and tests it out on the empty dark streets of the city.
From here on it's a semi-promotional vehicle (pun) for Ford, but has enough dramatised history in there to still be of interest.
While telling the story of the Model T we get to revisit the farm again, seemingly only to paint another bleak picture of country life. After that a progressive look at the evolution of the production line really makes this worth watching.
Humour wise there's a few good laughs to be had. The complex story of 'your sick mother' is overly harsh, and the footage of the sailwagon in use is particularly hilarious.
Narrated by none other than Raymond Massey, composed by Alex North, and Robert Downey Sr. is one of the credited cameramen. Full listing at IMDB; http://us.imdb.com/Details?0268138